The game, which is exclusive to Microsoft platforms, including Windows PC, Xbox 360 and Xbox One, launched on 14 March, immediately claiming the number one slot on the all-formats software chart.
According to figures released by entertainment sales monitor Chart-Track, 70% of all Xbox One units sold in the UK last week were special editions, bundled with Titanfall. The game has been heavily marketed by Microsoft and publisher Electronic Arts, and is widely considered a benchmark title for the Xbox One machine, especially as it is unavailable on close rival PlayStation 4. Microsoft also accompanied the release with a UK price drop for the console, from £429 to £399.
However, according to retail sources speaking to Chris Dring, editor of industry news site, MCV, PS4 sales also rose last week – by 72.4%. “PS4 is in a stronger position,” he said. “It had by far the strongest Christmas out of the two and a really strong start to the year, so has opened a big gap over Xbox One.
“Sony’s big issue is making enough consoles. PS4 has been subject to stock shortages in some areas, particularly during February. In fact last week, PS4 sales rose by over 70% last week because there was an increase in consoles shipped into the market.”
The comparative strength of the PS4 is also showing up in figures gathered by US research company NPD Group. January saw Sony’s machine outselling the Xbox One by as much as two-to-one, but its advantage is now slowing. “PS4 led hardware sales in February 2014, but by a narrow margin with Xbox One selling over 90% of what the PS4 sold in terms of unit sales,” wrote NPD Group analyst in a news release. “However, with Xbox One’s higher price point it led hardware sales on a dollar basis.”
The battle between the two consoles remains difficult to gauge, however, as their approach to global distribution differs. PlayStation 4 is currently available in over 50 territories, including the US, most of Europe and Japan, while Xbox One is only available in around 13.
Last week, the New York Times postulated that the paucity of PlayStation 4 stocks in the US, may actually have driven consumers to purchase Xbox One machines instead, accounting for the sharp rise in sales in February. The piece quoted Guy Longworth, senior vice president of PlayStation marketing, who referred to “severe inventory constraints” – perhaps a result of the console’s wider global roll-out.
It is also likely that Xbox One was boosted in February by players purchasing the machine in preparation for Titanfall, which has received almost universal critical acclaim. If that’s the case, it will be interesting to see what happens when Sony’s PS4 exclusive, Infamous: Second Son releases on 21 March. This is another much-hyped, heavily advertised release with a built-in fan base. And it is likely that whatever constraints Sony was experiencing with distributing its machine last month will be cured in time. “This week will be an interesting test,” said Dring. “I am sure [Infamous: Second Son] will be accompanied with an increase in PS4 supply.”
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